reflections on “God doesn’t micro-manage the universe”

In last week's post, I asked a few questions based on this video:

Greg Boyd Chat from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

How does God interact with me? And the world?
How does suffering relate to God's sovereignty?
What is human freedom?

Well, I'll admit these are questions I can't easily answer. But here's some reflections I had after watching the video:

Have you ever heard this phrase, or something similar?

“God placed you in this exact place for a reason. Just trust him.”

This is fine and dandy when life is swell. Because God is love, right? It makes sense. But what about when life isn’t so rosy? When relationships break down or you lose your job? Or someone close to you dies? Or you’re depressed? Or, (insert problem here). You know what I mean.

So what do people mean when they say “God has a plan for you”? One option is to say “yes,” all those nasty things in my life are part of God’s plan for me. As a finite human, I just fail to glimpse the bigger picture of God’s infinite wisdom. My hardships are really a blessing...or something.

Hmm... Really?

My preference: “God is with you in this exact place for a reason. Just trust him.”

In the Bible, I think language of predestination refers mainly to our identity as the people of God - individual and corporate (Eph 1:5-6), not simply the specific situations we find ourselves in. You could say, then, that before time, God declared or "predestined" the character of his people and his unfailing love for them (Ps. 103) But usually not their location (think African AIDS child) Or hair color. Or spouse (gasp!). Along these lines, we primarily trust God for who we are, not what situations we find ourselves in.

God isn't controlling, but God isn't absent either.

I realize this doesn’t answer the why question - if God is present, why does he allow bad things to happen? - but I’m not sure we can always know the answer to why (I’m thinking of Job here). Job didn't get a logical answer. But he did encounter God. God's plan is his presence.


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